Spirituality is undoubtedly a big factor for some recovering addicts, especially as they initially move through substance abuse treatment. However, it doesn’t have to be the primary contributor to drug rehab.
In fact, mental health professionals recognize that the success of sobriety is heavily influenced by having a sober community and having the support you need when you need it – not necessarily spirituality.
Nonetheless, there are others who say that without spirituality, drug detox, drug rehab treatment, and sobriety in general wouldn’t have happened.
There’s no question that the responses to spirituality, among those who are reaching for long-term sobriety, vary widely. Of course, the road to recovery may not always include a spiritual component; it does appear that some form of an inward searching practice is necessary.
How Spirituality Can Affect Your Recovery
For instance, if you’re going to change the way you behave, an honest examination of your thoughts and feelings are required on some level. In a way, this alone could be considered spiritual contemplation. It is a means to becoming a better human being, and more importantly, it is a path towards living a healthier life.
For instance, take a look at the twelve steps of the recovery model of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and you’ll immediately see the word, “God”. Many of those who have been drinking or using drugs for a while and who are beginning to attend AA have objections to the spirituality found in the 12-step model.
Some might have very strong objections that might even keep them from engaging in the program.
AA old-timers would say that they also had the same objections and that even though they did not believe in a higher being at the start, they treated the 12 steps as a daily practice rather than a religion. According to Steve Castleman, founder of AddictScience.com, part of the spirituality of AA is learning how to treat others as you want to be treated, living honestly, making amends when you inevitably fail, and helping others.
Learning this new set of behaviors is a result of practicing the 12-steps. And, learning these ways of living help to heal resentment and anger, which are often at the root of an addiction.
The 12-Steps are as Follows:
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God
Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step Seven: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Exploring whether spirituality is a part of your recovery may be something that deserves attention since you’re likely going to encounter it. In the next article of this two-part series, we will continue the exploration of whether spirituality is a necessary part of drug rehab.
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